Education Working Table

Current Situation:
We believe that the current state of education in the North American region does not center on the best that the human being has to offer. Speaking generally, human beings have been reduced to numbers and objects. Children are defined based on test scores, teachers are assessed based on how well they raise test scores, and parents are seen as customers in a factory-like system. Students and parents have little or no say in the content, delivery, and assessment of curriculum. The educational system itself is geared towards creating workers and consumers who perpetuate a dehumanized, unequal, money-driven society. Although pro-human philosophies and models exist, little is being implemented in favor of the human being on a regional scale.

Educators, parents, and all people working with children are feeling alienated, isolated, and disillusioned. There is a general frustration with the educational system as a whole in North America.

We are seeking a free, human centered, creative, democratic, holistic educational system that spans from birth to post-secondary education. We recognize the need for a diverse range of solutions; not a one-size fits all methodology. Anyone who is working to humanize education needs to be supported in their endeavors. Decentralization is key to address the need for diversity in humanizing projects. The examples we have heard from the various people at the education table have made it apparent that there should not be philosophical constraints other than putting the human being as the central value, and the use of a non-violent methodology.

First and foremost, we would like to take a definitive stance against excessive military spending worldwide, which diverts much-needed funds from educational needs. More of our regions resources should be used to expand opportunities for younger generations.

Regarding schools, they should become the heart of the community, and must have an influence in humanizing their neighborhoods. At the education table, we heard examples of people working in projects to create community collectives, implement education for non-violence, create a holistic and emotional based curriculum, create networks of progressive parents, use methods to deinstitutionalize education, create alternative public schools, seek external sources of funds for creative student projects, and generally struggle to survive in this dehumanized system.

We propose to create a web-based network of people who are working in these humanizing projects in order to overcome feelings of isolation, and to provide inspiration and ideas. This network will grow as we invite other parents, educators, students, and community members to join and contribute their experiences and knowledge.

The network will provide a basis for influencing not just individuals, but will also serve to influence our society.

Facilitators: Nick Radia (CAN), Matthew Oleson (USA), Philip Freeman (USA)